The King family are just one of the 239 Bundaberg Region families that spent a total of 1240 nights at the house last year through the Ronald McDonald House Charities South East Queensland.
One Bundaberg family alone stayed for a total of 92 nights as their child went through three months of hospital appointments.
For Zara’s mum Anna staying in the house was imperative.
“The Ronald McDonald House has been great for keeping our family together when we are in uncertain times of Zara’s life,” Anna said.
“Just being able to run across the road when you have the phone call in the middle of the night,” she added.
Between surgeries and appointments, the King family have stayed at the house on and off for two to three months at a time.
“Being able to stay at the house has helped in so many ways, but particularly ensuring we can be together so we don’t miss out on anything.
“The staff and volunteers are so special and always there to listen or to try and perk us up.
“I don’t know what we would do without Ronald McDonald House.”
RMHC SEQ Community engagement officer Ellie Doyle recently visited Bundaberg to residents with families about how the service could assist them.
“It’s important for us to connect with this community particularly given 15 per cent of all families who stayed at a Ronald McDonald House in Brisbane in 2019 were from the Wide Bay region,” Ellie said.
“Visiting Bundaberg has afforded us the opportunity to speak with a range of locals and provide them with information about our charity including the various programs we offer to families outside of our Ronald McDonald Houses.
“A lot of people are required to stay in Brisbane when their children are sick or injured. We want them to know that our Houses are not just a place to rest your head.
“They’re a home away from home with support services, volunteers to chat with and a place where they can connect with other families going through very similar situations.”
Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey thanked the organisation for the vital support that had been offered to local families.
“Ronald McDonald House provides a wonderful refuge for families, not just through free accommodation but by providing a welcoming and supportive space that makes the entire experience much less daunting for seriously ill children,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“The number of families from our region and the Wide Bay in general utilising this service is frankly incredible and demonstrates the need for a Level 5 hospital in Bundaberg.
“It is so heartening to know that local families have been offered this support, but I look forward to the day when our community can get essential treatment and services much closer to home.”
Ellie said one of the most effective ways to support the charity was to select them as a “charity of choice” for your next fundraiser, as Rotary Club of Bundaberg Sunrise did this week for its golf day.
“It’s also important to remember that many families will need to stay with us throughout the Christmas season whilst their children require life-saving treatment, so we encourage you to dig deep and donate to our Christmas Appeal by visiting here.”
For more information about supporting RMHC SEQ head to www.rmhc.org.au/seq or speak to the fundraising team at 07 3646 6528.
To find out more about staying at Ronald McDonald House or how RMHC SEQ can help your family, contact the charity directly on 07 3845 1600.
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